Definitely a dry spell. Can’t even remember the last band we profiled from Toronto, ON…after a little research, it just so happens to be the one year anniversary of our last Toronto band. That’s right, the Black Pistol Fire, sure thought they were gonna big. There’s still time. What does that mean? Have the hipster journalists finally left the cleanest city in the world? Maybe or just maybe we were waiting for Pow Wows to emerge. Maybe there’s a backlash up north, the underwater dreamscapes may have finally been drowned out by the re-emergence of some good ‘ol garage rock. The MC5 style, dingy clubs, heavy distortion, Elvis crooning, leather and greased up locks. I chose three tracks from Pow Wows debut. The three that made me feel good inside, the ones that showcase good rockmanship and some catchy hooks. Think of The Cramps and The MC5 sucker punching Bowie and dragging him to a biker bar. Really Bowie in a Biker Bar, leather and no make-up. Love it!
Vitals: Hometown: Toronto, ON Members:
F. Scott Baudelaire
Juarez Laredo Sonic Soulmates™: The MC5, The Cramps, Bowie getting all sweaty Trackables™:
You won't need a ladder to reach the top boys. You're too good. HOWLER photo by Robert Carino
Holy fack, these boys sound like so many bands it’s hard to pin them to one Sonic Soulmate™. Really, I’m struggling…what? You’re begging me for one? Just one…fine The Strokes impregnated in some dark alley under a pile of trash by the Cramps. Hell, Jordan Gatesmith, the primary Howler is only 19 years old and he and his Minny pals created a record that is so damn good! The record came out yesterday. By the way these boys will be the band in every commercial, every video game, hell they may even be better than the aforementioned bands. They’re hooks are so catchy, not even a catfish could escape. I’m hooked and the entire 2012 America Give Up record is worth the vinyl purchase. Thank you Turk. I think you will agree. Enough of my yapping, just listen.
Vitals: Hometown: Minneapolis, MN Members: Jordan Gatesmith on lead guitar and vocals, Brent Mayes on drums, Ian Nygaard on guitar, Max Petrek on keyboard, and France Camp (real name Jay Simonson) on bass Sonic Soulmates™: The Vaccines, Surfer Blood, The Strokes Trackables™:
“Back of Your Neck”
Class Actress sheds light on what can be good in 2012.
Uncorked™ Class Actress
I’m a sucker for female leads. I’m also a sucker for minimalist electronic music. The stuff you can create on your kid’s toys…all said, simple beats and unlayered tracks may replace the cluttered underwater gargle we’ve been dealing with over the past two years. Class Actress is one stellar example of the mid-80’s Kate Bush led Depeche Mode tribute sound. Elizabeth Harper is the muse that leads Class Actress, having been at electronic music since 2009, she drafted the help of producers Mark Richardson and Scott Rosenthal. They created what is today one of our favorite late ’11 and early ’12 faves. Where Chairlift bores and drones, Class Actress soars. Her new record Rapprocher was released late 2011 it good and her following is growing fast. Elizabeth is Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells without the anger, she’s what makes music great these days. Here’s to a new age of female leads in 2012.
Vitals: Hometown: Brooklyn, NY via Philadelphia, PA Members: Elizabeth Harper Sonic Soulmates™: Twin Sister, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, Chairlift Trackables™:
Is this becoming the year of selfish band names? I Break Horses bring home cooked Swedish dream pop.
Uncorked™ I Break Horses
When we listen to music, we often joke here about how it made you feel. It most cases, we don’t feel anything. In some cases we tap our toes and in the rare case we get that chill up our spine and the hair on our head tingles. I’m not a scientist, so I can’t explain why that happens, but I can say that’s a good thing. I remember the first time I heard all of my favorite bands. I Break Horses isn’t your typical dream gaze XX/XY duo. Fredrik Balck, is the instrumental guy, and Maria Lindén who handles the vocals met in 2008 under unusual circumstances: both self-professed hypochondriacs, visited the same online medical sites, discovered they shared friends as well as a passion the same music. Their tracks aren’t layered in heavy shoe gaze wall of sound, rather, they take the Washed Out route and keep the instrumentals simple. Maybe two-three layered tracks with Maria’s beautiful voice adorning the sound. They use their fear of dying as inspiration for their lyrics, focusing on the fragility of life. I will say that the first time I heard Hearts that chill ran up my spine and NO I wasn’t worried that I had some rare spinal virus…Thank you again to AZ Turk for adding them to his Top Gems of 2011
Vitals: Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden Members: Fredrik Balck, Maria Lindén Sonic Soulmates™: Washed Out, Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo Lake Trackables™:
The ghosts of Port O'Brien come to life with a record built for a Hummingbird Award - Ryan Stively
Uncorked™ Ryan Stively
Port O’Brien breaking up messed with my head. I loved their last record Threadbare so much, it was a combination of Built to Spill and Bowerbirds. Folky, fuzzy and good. Then they dissolved the unit, Van floated over to WATERS and Ryan Stively, the long-time member and co-conspirator has now stepped out to create some southern fried, San Francisco gems on his debut record Soft Kingdom. It was recorded over the span of 6 months on borrowed and leftover studio time with former tour-mate and Portland multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray (Carcrashlander, Desert City Soundtrack). It’s part Broken Social Scene, part National brooding and a whole lot of Wilco (Tweedy) or even Bridwell’s stylings for Band of Horses…hell even a little M. Wardy. These 8 tracks could rival any record we’ve heard in the past 6 months. Buy it here.
Vitals: Hometown: Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA (Right in our own backyard) Members: Ryan Stively (Port O’Brien), Cambria Goodwin (Port O’Brien), Graham LeBron (Rogue Wave, Album Leaf) and Joey Ficken (Sea Wolf) appear. Sonic Soulmates™: Bowerbirds, Wilco, Broken Social Scene, Rogue Wave, M. Ward Trackables™:
“We Forget Everything”
We're like the AAA for Coachella, they might be in small print, but they're great bands none the less.
I got a comment from someone that said all the music we feature sounds like “Underwater Radiohead Drivel” I wrote him back and had him listen to the 132 bands that we featured, that weren’t of that ilk. I do agree that most of today’s band can be categorized into three camps “URD”, “Spectorian Female dream sounds” and “Folk Americana”. Seriously, rock has been long buried because most of America has accepted that Nickelback is rock music. So we’re stuck in this weird moment in music….it doesn’t upset us, it just drives us to find something special. We really did pour through the bands of 2011 to find the bands that will make a difference. If the Coachella line-up is any indication, we weren’t the only ones to notice how great they were. Here is the list of our best of 2011 bands playing in Indio this year:
Arizona Turk loved them, so should you. I Heart Sharks.
If you’re not familiar, this is our key feature, we’ve called it Band of the Day, BUT starting today for 2012, we’re going to rename Band of the Day to Uncorked…these are what we consider the BEST NEW BANDS of 2012, the ones you should put on a playlist and listen to religiously. We love them so we share.
So if you read our blog religiously you know Arizona Turk. He’s our primary music excavator, digging for new bands and truly a maverick of music. His 2011 Year End Gems was shocking, bands that we’ve barely heard a whisper of and HIS FAVORITE NEW BAND is I Heart Sharks. We questioned him but he responded with “Just listen.” So we did and we pledged after that first listen to UNCORK them first in 2012. The first band to be Uncorked on NBD. Kind of a big, deal. I Heart Sharks, it’s German synth rock with an added Brit rock clean guitar flare and the vocal stylings of Friendly Fires. Their love of 80’s First Wave is clearly evident and I think it might be the first time A Brit, A German and a Parisian (we think) have created music together…well maybe not the first time, but definitely unique. They met sometime in 2007 in one of Berlin’s many clubs, toured a little bit through Germany, played Festivals and late last year we got their first full-length. Think of them as Scandinavian electro-pop with Berlin’s house music and the perfect dash of British flare.
Hometown: Berlin, Germany DE, Paris, FR, London
Sonic Soulmates™: Friendly Fires, Passion Pit, Foals